The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr James Lau, attended the 4th European Financial Forum (EFF) in Dublin on 13 February to promote Hong Kong's strengths as an international financial centre and forge closer financial collaboration with Ireland.
The theme of this year's EFF was "Policies and Business Models for a Changing Financial Landscape". Mr Lau attended the opening session in the morning and gave a closing keynote speech on how Hong Kong has evolved, from being a centre for investment flows and financial services to facilitate China's reform and opening up to a broader role that encompasses leadership in innovation and technology, sustainable trade and finance, and regional connectivity and development in the context of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Mr Lau also held an onstage conversation with the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform of Ireland, Mr Paschal Donohoe, during the closing session, which included sharing efforts to further financial development in both places.
Mr Lau joined a luncheon hosted by Goshawk, an international aircraft leasing company headquartered in Dublin, where he shared with attending executives how Hong Kong and Ireland could step up collaboration in aircraft leasing and work together to capitalise on the vast opportunities ahead. Mr Lau then paid visits to Goshawk and another leading aircraft leasing company, Avolon. He shared with the management teams of these companies what Hong Kong had been doing in promoting the aircraft leasing business.
Mr Lau held a discussion with aviation financing experts of the Standard Chartered Bank to learn more about their experience in boosting aviation market development in Ireland and beyond.
Mr Lau attended a Fintech (financial technology) roundtable where he met with representatives from a number of key Fintech companies in Dublin. He said he was pleased to note that these companies are seeking to leverage Hong Kong as a platform to expand their businesses to Hong Kong, the Mainland of China and Asia, and he updated them on the city's latest efforts to support Fintech development.
He later met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Mr Philip Lane. They exchanged views on the impacts of Brexit, trade friction between China and the US as well as Fintech advances in the context of global economic development and financial stability.
In the evening, Mr Lau met with the Minister of State at the Department of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform of Ireland, Mr Michael D’Arcy, to discuss the latest developments of green finance and financial technologies in both places. Both sides looked forward to further collaboration between Hong Kong and Ireland in financial services.
Mr Lau visited the Irish Stock Exchange in the morning of 14 February before concluding his visit to Dublin.